* VI *

Emrald arrived at my house at six o'clock on what was going to be the best night of my life so far. He was dressed in a black suit with matching tie and his shoes were polished. I was wearing a light, lavender-coloured dress which flowed down to the floor.

"You look ... breathtakingly beautiful," Emrald murmured as we climbed into the dark car. His dad, a friendly-looking chap with Emrald's black hair and blue eyes but with glasses, was driving.

"You look really smart," I told him.

He smiled.

We were silent during the journey. I suppose neither of us really knew what to say and his dad was being brilliantly silent - it was a little awkward having a third person in the background when this was meant to be a date.

When we stepped out of the car, I gasped at the sight of Amazing Marcorelli's. At first sight, it looked perhaps like a tall, spacious bungalow with a slate roof and red bricks but around each window were red and gold lights and colourful chinese lanterns. The sign, which shone scarlet in the dark, was on the roof. The lettering was italic and curly.

Emrald and I stepped into a warm porch with a soft carpet and walls covered with gold wallpaper with floral designs. We pushed open a set of doors ahead of us and stepped into a similarly decorated room with about thirty tables. In front of us was a desk where a waiter stood and smiled.

"Have you reserved a table?" he asked.

To my surprise, Emrald nodded. Whoa, reservations were really expensive. I knew Emrald's father was rich but somehow seeing the proof made it easier to believe (since they lived in a normal-sized house and had a normal-looking car).

"Under the name 'Anvair'," Emrald told the waiter.

The waiter smiled broadly. "That's a table for two, isn't it, sir?"

Emrald nodded.

We were led by the waiter to a table in the far left-hand corner of the restaurant. There were two chairs facing each other around a round table with a vase of red and white roses in the centre. The menu was already there and as we sat, Emrald handed it to me.

"If there is anything you need, do not hesitate to ask," the waiter said, bowing before he left.

"What are your first impressions?" Emrald asked as I scanned the menu for a familiar dish. There were plates like spaghetti bolognese and lasagna but with lots of herbs and a variety of cheeses.

"It's wonderful," I murmured, handing him the menu.

"What would you like?"

"The lasagna please."

"To drink?"

"I don't suppose they do lemonade here, do they?"

"They do," Emrald replied.

"I'll have that, then. Is it okay if we have the lasagna for two?"

"To share?"

Emrald nodded.

"Yes, that's fine."

Emrald placed the menu down and pushed the vase of roses carefully to the side so we could see each other more clearly.

"So I wanted to talk about ... how we feel about each other," Emrald said. "How do you see me?"

He gazed at me intently.

"Well, you're really lovely, and I think you'd make a great boyfriend,"  I said, blushing, "but before today I didn't really consider us two becoming a couple. What about you?"

"Well, I think you have a beautiful personality. You're always so kind and generous, and caring. I've wanted to see if we would work out as an item for a little while now."

"How long?" I asked curiously.

Emrald smiled. "About a month."

"Wow," I said quietly.

Emrald's expression turned serious. "Would you like to  be more than friends?"

"Well, I'm here, aren't I?" I pointed out. "And I didn't object to you kissing me. What do you want to make of that?"

Emrald shrugged. "You could have said yes because it's my birthday.  I wanted to make absolutely sure."

I smiled and leant in to kiss him before saying, "I think we'd be good together."

Emrald kissed me and I delighted in the sensastion of having his warmth close to me and tasting his love as well as feeling that I was loved in the depths of my heart where the knowledge of that fact was cherished.

The rest of the meal was wonderful. The cuisine was exquisite, with everything cooked to perfection, and the dessert of coffee with cream and chocolate sprinkles was delicious. I found it more enjoyable because of Emrald, though. He showered me with compliments, commenting on the exact aspects of my personality that he loved, my appearance tonight although it didn't compare to the beauty of my heart in his opinion and it was just really nice to sit there in that tranquil scene with its warm, light atmosphere and know that someone thought I was special.

Unfortunately, great things like other less fantastic things come to an end and at nine o'clock, after Emrald had paid with the credit card his dad had lent to him, we were driven home. I leant on Emrald's shoulder and drifted off to sleep, totally content.

***

The End

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